Stop Using Toxic Air Fresheners: Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Unwanted Odors
By Kurtis Bright
Air Fresheners May Be Doing Much More Toxic Damage Than We Thought
Odors are deep in our genetic memory. They are not to be treated lightly; without our ancestors’ sense of smell we would likely not be here today. Odor is one of the first signs that something is wrong, for instance if a potential food or water source is tainted, or if a companion’s wound is serious. Even as pre-humans we once may have been able to discern if danger approached in the form of predators or other tribes through our sense of smell.
In fact, studies have demonstrated that smell is the last of the five commonly recognized senses that we hang onto before death; what we are smelling at the moment before we let go of this life is perhaps the last thing we are ever aware of.
In other words, we should not underestimate just how important odor is; it is a visceral and vital facet of our interface with the world that has a greater bearing our mental and emotional well-being than usually consider.
Taking advantage of this fact is the reason why wily realtors bake chocolate chip cookies at properties they are showing; the odors reach into our subconscious and connect our minds with memories of happy childhood moments and a sense of well-being and comfort--a sense of home.
That is also the reason there is so much money to be made in the business of altering the odors in the air around us. The trouble is that--as with most things humans have seen fit to industrialize--the corporations who make air fresheners embrace the use of chemicals that are known to be dangerous.
Air freshener sprays, for instance, often contain phthalates, a toxic chemical that is no longer used in baby products, but which is almost certainly cancer-causing.
You should also avoid even more seemingly benign air fresheners like scented candles and reed diffusers. These homey-smelling candles have been found to emit toluene, benzene and other carcinogens when burned. Reed diffusers for their part are made with dipropylene glycol, and ingredient found in anti-freeze.
But there are alternatives. Here are a few ideas for achieving a fresh-smelling home without being forced to endure nasty chemicals.
- Baking - Take the idea of the sneaky real estate agent and use it for the forces of good! Say you are having friends over and your house is a little funky: bake a batch cookies or brownies. You’ll have a great odor all day plus something to offer your guests.
- Fruit is your friend - Often overlooked is the fact that fruit juice is a highly effective cleanser. Especially when you combine it with baking soda, fruit juice can really help to remove soap scum and limescale from your shower. And when your garbage disposal starts smelling a bit off, toss in and crunch up a few pieces of lemon or lime in there.
- Boil cinnamon - This one is cheap, easy and effective as a room deodorizer. It only takes a few cinnamon sticks, some water and a saucepan. Bring water to a boil, then let simmer for a few minutes, and your home will smell great.
- DIY air freshener - So much cheaper than toxic store-bought sprays--and its easy to make. It’s truly amazing that more people don’t take advantage of this idea: You just mix some lime juice with a little baking soda and water, and you’ve got a great-smelling, non-toxic air freshener that naturally neutralized odors.